Description: Malaria in humans is caused by one of four protozoan species of the genus Plasmodium : P. falciparum , P. vivax , P. ovale , or P. malariae . All species are transmitted by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Occasionally, transmission occurs by blood transfusion or congenitally from mother to fetus. Although malaria can be a fatal disease, illness and death from malaria are largely preventable.
Occurence: Malaria is a major international public health problem, causing 300–500 million infections worldwide and approximately 1 million deaths annually. Malaria transmission occurs in large areas of Central and South America, Hispaniola, Africa, Asia (including the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East), Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific).
Clinical Presentation: Malaria is characterized by fever and influenzalike symptoms, including chills, headache, myalgias, and malaise; these symptoms can occur at intervals. Malaria may be associated with anemia and jaundice, and P. falciparum infections can cause seizures, mental confusion, kidney failure, coma, and death. Malaria symptoms can develop as early as 6 days after initial exposure in a malaria-endemic area and as late as several months after departure from a malarious area, after chemoprophylaxis has been terminated.
Preventions: No vaccine is currently available. Taking an appropriate drug regimen and using antimosquito measures will help prevent malaria. Travelers should be informed that, regardless of methods employed, they are still at risk for contracting malaria.
source: CDC Malaria Health Information
— Paul Arguin, Ann Barber, Phyllis Kozarsky, Sonja Mali, Robert Newman, Monica Parise, Susanna Partridge